BJP, Barred From Taking Out Rallies In Bengal, Goes To Supreme Court

The BJP approached the Supreme Court today against an order of the Calcutta High Court that stated the party to defer its “Save Democracy” yatras in West Bengal. The party has sought an immediate hearing of its special leave petition.

The BJP had scheduled to launch “Save Democracy” yatras from three different places in the state, crisscrossing it before converging in Kolkata. BJP president Amit Shah was supposed to flag them off. The state administration had earlier denied permission for the political rallies, stating it would lead to law and order problem in the state.

The BJP filed a plea, following which the party got the green signal from a single-judge bench of the same court on Thursday. Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty said that the court failed to look for the reasoning behind the state government’s argument and instead asked it to ensure that no breach of law-and-order occurs during the event. A jubilant BJP welcomed the verdict, and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took to social media to appreciate the Bengal party leadership.

The Mamata Banerjee government, however, appealed against the single-bench order before a division bench comprising Chief Justice Debasish Kargupta and Justice Shampa Sarkar. The division bench found the next day that Justice Tapabrata Chakraborty had not taken inputs from state intelligence agencies into account, and sent the case back with instructions that it studies all the material deposited before arriving at a verdict.

Mr. Shah — who has set an aim of 22 seats for the party in the Lok Sabha election — believes that the Mamata Banerjee government denied permission for the yatras because it is “terrified” of the party making inroads in the state. “Nobody can stop rath yatras in the state,” he had cautioned earlier.

The rallies were anticipated to cover all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bengal, a state where the party hopes to expand its footprint.

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